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I-35 pavement marking project covers Osage, Franklin and Coffey counties

The Kansas Department of Transportation has started a pavement marking project on Interstate 35. The work begins at the I-35 and U.S. Highway 75 junction and continues northeast to Eisenhower Road at Ottawa.

The existing pavement markings are being removed and replaced. Northbound and southbound I-35 traffic will be restricted to one lane with a reduced speed limit at the work zone. Weather permitting, the project should be finished by late July.

KDOT awarded the construction contract of $950,000 to Traffic Control Company, of St. Louis, Mo. For more information, contact Troy Howard at the KDOT office in Garnett, 785-448-5446, or Priscilla Petersen at the Chanute KDOT office, 620-902-6433.

Boil water advisories issued for multiple public water supply systems in Lyon, Coffey counties

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued boil water advisories for 12 public water supply systems in Lyon and Coffey Counties. KDHE officials issued the advisories because of a line break in Emporia, resulting in a loss of pressure. Failure to maintain adequate pressure may result in a loss of chlorine residuals and bacterial contamination.

The boil water advisory issued for the city of Emporia earlier today remains in effect.

The water systems in Lyon and Coffey counties currently under a boil water advisory are as follows: City of Admire, Lyon County, city of Allen, Lyon County, Coffey County Rural Water District 2E, Coffey County, city of Emporia, Lyon County, city of Hartford, Lyon County, Lyon County Rural Water District 1, Lyon County, Lyon County Rural Water District 2, Lyon County, Lyon County Rural Water District 3, Lyon County, Lyon County Rural Water District 4, Lyon County, Lyon County Rural Water District 5, Lyon County, city of Olpe, Lyon County, Park Place Communities Management, Lyon County.

The advisories took effect on July 20, 2017, and will remain in effect until conditions that place the systems at risk of contamination are deemed by KDHE officials to be resolved adequately.

  • Customers should observe the following precautions until further notice:
  • Boil water for one minute prior to drinking or food preparation, or use bottled water.
  • Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic icemaker.
  • Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.
  • Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing so that water is not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians.
  • If your tap water appears dirty, flush the water lines by letting the water run until it clears.

Public water suppliers in Kansas take all measures necessary to notify customers quickly after a system failure. Regardless of whether it is the supplier or KDHE that announces a boil water advisory, KDHE will issue the rescind order following testing at a certified laboratory.

Coffey County man used PlayStation to collect child porn

WICHITA, Kan. – A Coffey County man pleaded guilty today to using a PlayStation video game console to obtain child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Kansas.

The office reported that Michael L. Stratton, 30, Burlington, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography. In his plea, Stratton admitted using a PlayStation 3 to chat about child pornography and trade child pornography.

KBI arrests Coffey County sheriff’s deputy


Matthew Vander Linden

BURLINGTON, Kan. – An investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation has led to the arrest of Matthew G. Vander Linden, a deputy of the Coffey County Sheriff’s Office.

Vander Linden, 28, was arrested Tuesday afternoon for two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, one count of electronic solicitation, and one count of sexual exploitation of a child. The arrest took place without incident at the Coffey County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation, which began Dec. 20, was initiated at the request of the Coffey County Sheriff’s Office. Vander Linden has been with the sheriff’s office since March 2014. Effective today, his employment at the sheriff’s office was terminated.

According to a press release, the KBI’s investigation is ongoing, and no further information will be released at this time.

Wind farm under construction; oversize loads head to Coffey County through December

The Ad Astra wind farm in southeast Kansas has begun construction and approximately 900 oversize loads will be traveling the routes listed below to locations in Coffey County for construction of the wind farm. The planned completion of the wind farm is the first week of December. Oversize loads will be traveling the below routes through that time.

The first movement of the windmill components for the wind farm began last week. The public should expect for two components to be delivered per day, Monday through Friday. The loads include transport vehicles that range in size to 209 feet in length, 16 feet 7 inches high, 16 feet wide, and 417,000 pounds gross weight.

Approximately 800 oversize loads will be transported from Emporia on Interstate 35 to U.S. 75, then south at Beto Junction to Coffey County’s 24th Road, then east.

Approximately 100 loads will be transported south out of Emporia on state Highway 99 to U.S. Highway 54, then east to U.S. Highway 75, then north to 24th Road, then east.

U.S. 75 road work in Coffey County to start Wednesday at Osage County line

Wednesday, June 24, the Kansas Department of Transportation expects to begin a 17-mile mill and resurfacing project on U.S. Highway 75 from the Osage County line south to Burlington.

The location of the project’s initial phase has changed. Starting at the Osage-Coffey county line and continuing south to Burlington, the contractor will first mill and then place an asphalt overlay on the roadway. Flaggers and a pilot car will direct one-lane traffic through the work zone. Traveler delays of 15 minutes or less can be expected during daylight hours.

In mid-July the project activity is expected to move to U.S. 75 inside the city of Burlington. The contractor will replace the concrete pavement at the intersection of U.S. 75 and Neosho Street.

NWS issues tornado warning for Osage, Coffey, Lyon counties

The National Weather Service in Topeka has issued a tornado warning for southwestern Osage County, northwestern Coffey County, and east central Lyon County until 6 p.m. At 5:34 p.m. a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located near Neosho Rapids and moving northeast at 50 mph. Radar indicated rotation.

Possible impact is flying debris, which will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely. This dangerous storm will be near Reading around 5:50 p.m., and Melvern Lake around 5:55 p.m. This includes Interstate 35 between mile markers 136 and 149.

Coffey County Attorney named as 4th Judicial District judge


Judge Douglas Witteman

Gov. Sam Brownback announced Sept. 24, 2014, the appointment of Douglas P. Witteman as district judge in the 4th Judicial District of Kansas. Witteman will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Thomas H. Sachse, whose courtroom was in Ottawa. 

Coffey County Lake to host 10th Veterans Memorial Bass Tournament

The 10th annual Kansas Veteran’s Memorial Bass Tournament in memory of fallen Kansas Guard members will take place Saturday, April 26, at Coffey County Lake, south of Wolf Creek Generating Station near Burlington, Kan. on Highway 75.

In her first book, Ottawa author examines grisly, unsolved Coffey County murder

The house where Florence Knoblock was murdered in 1925 still stands in a pasture in Coffey County, Kansas. Photo by Stephan Anderson-Story.


An Ottawa author will be speaking about her first book, about a 1925 unsolved Kansas murder, at 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at Lyndon Community Center.

Diana Staresinic-Deane’s book, Shadow on the Hill: The True Story of a 1925 Kansas Murder, is about the slaying of a Coffey County woman, Florence Knoblock, which is said to be the most brutal murder in the history of Coffey County.

Osage County Jail Log, June 3 – June 9, 2018

The following individuals were booked into the Osage County Jail in connection with charges or warrants as listed by the arresting agency.

SOS safe bars offer stress free socializing

Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault – how a person dresses, how much they drink or who they kiss does not matter. However, many times these are questions asked of survivors of sexual assault. SOS believes that any kind of abuse is unacceptable and that everyone deserves to feel safe wherever they are, including at bars. SOS collaborates with community partners to educate and reduce violence in Chase, Coffey, Greenwood, Morris, Lyon and Osage counties.

SOS’s newest partnership is “SOS Safe Bar” – working with local bars to help them know what to do when they witness alarming behaviors in their establishment, and help to keep their staff and customers safer from predatory behavior, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Most people are told to watch out for date rape drugs like GHB and rohypnol while out and about, but alcohol is most often the substance used to perpetrate sexual violence. SOS hopes that Safe Bars will allow people to socialize in bars without the stress of predators bothering them, and with the relief of knowing their bartender has been trained by SOS to help prevent sexual assault.

Kids can show off their water safety knowledge, win prizes in lake poster contest

The Melvern Lake Corps of Engineers is inviting kids to show what they know about water safety in this year’s water safety poster contest. Kids ages 6 to 13 are welcome to join the fun and create a poster promoting water safety.

Posters can be entered into any of these categories:

  • Wear your life jacket: Why is it important to wear your life jacket or personal flotation device?
  • Swim with a buddy: Why should you never swim alone?
  • Boat safety: What can you do or what should you bring to be safe on a boat?
  • Open division: What does water safety mean to you?

Artists can enter more than one category, but only one poster per category. Posters can be created using pens, pencils, markers, colored pencils, paint, or crayons. Include name, age, category entering, and contact phone number on back of each poster.

An 11 by 17-inch poster paper to use will be provided at the following locations – these locations are also the drop off areas of finished posters. If an 11 by 17-inch paper (preferably poster or cardstock type) is already available to youth, they are welcome to use that. Entries not on 11 by 17-inch paper will be excluded from the contest. Pick-up and drop-off locations: Lyndon Carnegie Library, Melvern City Hall, Osage City Public Library,  Coffey County Library, Waverly and Lebo branches, and Reading City Hall. Finished posters are due by July 20.

The entries will be judged on displaying correct water safety practices and reasons why, creativity, and clarity of the safety message being conveyed.

USDA designates 10 counties in Kansas as primary natural disaster areas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 10 counties in Kansas, including Osage County, as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought. The designated counties include Clay, Geary, Lyon, Pottawatomie, Shawnee, Coffey, Jackson, Osage, Riley, and Wabaunsee.

Farmers and ranchers in the contiguous counties in Kansas also qualify for natural disaster assistance. Those counties are: Allen, Cloud, Greenwood, Nemaha, Anderson, Dickinson, Jefferson, Ottawa, Atchison, Douglas, Marshall, Washington, Brown, Franklin, Morris, Woodson, and Chase.

Qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for the Farm Service Agency’s emergency loans, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration of May 10, 2018, to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster.

Local nonprofits invited to apply for emerging needs grants

EMPORIA, Kan. – The United Way of the Flint Hills is inviting nonprofits located in Chase, Coffey, Greenwood, Lyon, Morris, Osage, and Woodson counties to apply for the organization’s emerging needs grants. Launched in 2015, the funding allows organizations to apply for grants up to $1,000 for new projects and new programs.

“The emerging needs grant program has been an exciting way for the United Way of the Flint Hills to learn about new programs and develop new partnerships in all of the communities we serve,” said Jami Reever, executive director. “We’ve loved the diversity of the applications we’ve received in the past and know that for many organizations, this grant opportunity makes new ideas possible. We encourage any nonprofit in our community to apply.”

Osage City lawyer selected as district magistrate judge in Osage County

LYNDON, Kan. – The 4th Judicial District nominating commission has selected Osage City lawyer Shannon Rush to fill a magistrate judge vacancy in Osage County, Kan.

The commission conducted public interviews of nominees for the position May 9 in Lyndon. Five people had applied for the opening.

Rush’s new position will be effective upon her swearing-in. She was in private practice with Coffman & Campbell, Burlington.

The 4th Judicial District is composed of Osage, Anderson, Franklin and Coffey counties. The vacancy was created when former magistrate judge Taylor Wine was appointed district judge and chief judge of the 4th Judicial District.

Area fire departments fight house fire in rural Osage County

Multiple local fire departments worked to extinguish a house fire in rural Osage City Saturday morning.

Around 10:28 a.m. Saturday, April 28, 2018, Osage County Fire District No. 2, Osage City, OCFD No. 3, Melvern-Olivet, and OCFD No. 5, Lyndon-Vassar, were dispatched to 4204 W. 277th St., Osage City, for a structure fire. County land records list the owners as Janet and Patrick Walsh.

A press release from OCFD No. 2 said that due to the rural location and nearest water refill site several miles away, additional departments were paged to assist with water shuttles. Fire department personnel were on the scene approximately five hours.

The department reported there were no injuries, and fire and smoke damage was contained to the residential structure. The Osage County Appraiser’s Office values the home at $246,690; value of damaged contents was unknown.

In the press release, OCFD No. 2 reminds everyone to have working smoke detectors in their home and check them frequently. Also have an escape plan, practice it, and be prepared to use it in the event of a fire.

Agencies and departments on scene or assisting with the fire also included OCFD No. 6, Burlingame, OCFD No. 7, Quenemo, Coffey County Fire District 1 Station 6, Lebo, and Station 7, Waverly, Reading Benefit Fire District, Osage County Emergency Management, Osage County EMS, Osage County Sheriff’s Office, and Red Cross.

Nominating commission to interview nominees for Osage County magistrate judge vacancy

LYNDON, Kan. – The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene May 9, 2018, to interview five nominees to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Osage County.

The vacancy was created when the former magistrate, Taylor J. Wine, was appointed as district judge and chief judge of the 4th Judicial District.

The commission will convene at 9 a.m. in the Osage County Courthouse, 717 Topeka Ave., Lyndon, Kan. Interviews are open to the public.

The 4th Judicial District is composed of Osage, Anderson, Coffey, and Franklin counties.
The nominees to be interviewed are:

  • Jennifer Jolene Friend, non-attorney, Fredonia.
  • Bryan K. Joy, attorney, Burlington.
  • Robert Wayne Lattin, attorney, Independence.
  • Elizabeth Lee Oliver, attorney, Baldwin City.
  • Shannon D. Rush, attorney, Osage City.

A nominee for district magistrate judge must be a graduate of a high school, a secondary school, or the equivalent; a resident of Osage County at the time of taking office and while holding office; and either a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas, or able to pass an examination given by the Supreme Court to become certified within 18 months.

Burn ban Wednesday: Windy conditions cause very high fire danger

The National Weather Service at Topeka has issued a wind advisory for today, Wednesday, April 11, 2018, and Osage County Emergency Management has banned all outdoor burning due to very high fire danger.

The burn ban means no outside burning is allowed, and all burn permits are suspended until 8 a.m. April 12, unless the burn ban is extended. NWS has forecast that strong winds will continue into Friday in northeast Kansas.

Very high fire danger means fire control will be very difficult and require extended effort. A wind advisory means that sustained winds of 30 mph or gusts to 45 mph are expected. Steps should be taken to secure any lawn furniture or light weight objects and use extra caution when driving.

The NWS forecast says today will be sunny, with a high near 78, and windy, with a south wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph in the afternoon. Wind gusts could be as high as 40 mph.

The current wind advisory is in effect from 11 a.m. this morning to 7 p.m. this evening for Osage, Morris, Lyon and Coffey counties.

For more information about the burn ban, contact Osage County Emergency Management at 785-828-3323.

Osage County Jail Log, April 2 – April 7, 2018

The following individuals were booked into the Osage County Jail in connection with charges or warrants as listed by the arresting agency.

Osage County Jail Log, March 25 – March 30, 2018

The following individuals were booked into the Osage County Jail in connection with charges or warrants as listed by the arresting agency.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas